We knew it already to some extent, but it is actually far more advanced than many of us realize. It is convenient, otherwise why would so many people use Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or Google Assistant?
These virtual ladies (their names are a big give-away) form one side of the technology, human-machine interaction, or HMI. The other side of the technology is natural language processing (NLP) coupled with the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) combo.
The issue with voice technology is there is a point where its convenience starts to be detrimental to our privacy. That’s a thin line that many companies are dancing on, and some are crossing. With something as unique as our voice, it is very sensitive personal information we are dealing with, which in some countries is extremely well protected. It is nonetheless a growing market.
Sensitive information is taken more seriously by some organisations than others, which typically places great value on confidentiality and information security. One example is the German Army, which dares not use WhatsApp, Messenger or Telegram, instead is looking at open-source solutions like Matrix. However, this is the tip of the iceberg, as we can see that the business-to-business market has more than 150 players.
There are many opportunities that voice technology can offer, and though we remain skeptical if it will ever replace humans, it will certainly at a minimum be used to augment the customer sales experience. Hopefully the days of semi-automated call centres and machine commands that are unable to recognize different accents are gone!